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What headphones/headsets would you recommend that I get?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
A few months back I bought myself a pair of Razer Megalodon. Never will I buy a "gaming" headset again. It's filled with issues and the sound quality is absolutely terrible. I'm one of the least knowledgeable people when it comes to audio but even I can hear that the sound in this headset is terrible. In my opinion, it's almost on par with iPhone's default earbuds. Ergo I'm now looking for a pair of headphones or headsets. I don't mind using a table-based microphone as long as I have an awesome sound quality but please recommend me one if you suggest a pair headphones.

Budget: Somewhere around $378 (2500 SEK).

Preferred Music: I mainly listen to electronic music - mostly hardstyle, trance and light dubstep. Apart from those genrès I also listen to quite a bit of immediate music and classical rock. Although rare, I do listen to country as well.

Desired Sound: Having a fantastic music quality is what I want the most. The gaming sound is not as important but I'd see it as a great bonus. As I listen to a lot of electronic music I feel that I need to have a lot of bass to really get the entire experience. I don't want it to overpower the other sounds too much, though. Considering how little I know about audio I, unfortunately, can't properly explain what sort of sound I want.

Usage: I spend 8+ hours home everyday being sedentary with my headsets on. There's also quite a lot of time on Skype weaved into my daily usage but the quality of others' voices isn't something I'm very picky about. I have a skin issue that makes the skin around my ears inflammed if the pads aren't very soft. That's really the only thing I like about the Megalodon - it has perfect pads.

Noise reduction My computer sounds like it's going to take off at any moment. It's so loud I can hear it do its thing even when I'm two rooms away and the door is closed. My point is: I really need audio equipment that will reduce most of that sound for me. I have no preferences for noise-reduction techniques so whatever reduces it by a lot is fine to me.

Sound card: I don't have and have never had a dedicated sound card so if I need one I'd like a few recommendations for what to get. If it's relevant, I'm using an R4E motherboard.

Microphone preferences: I'm considering getting into commentating and I would like a great microphone straight away. As little background noise as possible is a must for me. It's also important that the equipment doesn't obstruct my line of sight while I'm gaming. Considering my terms it, at least to me, sounds like I should pick a pair of headsets instead of headphones. However, the output sound quality is far more important to me and therefore the microphone quality is of a lower priority.

Physical appearance: The appearance of the equipment doesn't matter to me even in the slightest. I'm only concerned about the sound quality.

Residence: I live roughly 45 minutes away from Gothenburg, Sweden. My preferred method of purchasing equipment is via the internet, though. I don't know of any good sites so that's up to you to decide.
Edited by ColtoM - 10/23/12 at 4:28am
post #2 of 11
May be wrong on this, but anything you can get at that price-range would be held back by the onboard sound. Might want to look into getting a DAC.
post #3 of 11
I was in a similar situation. I went through a million headsets. The point is there is no perfect headset, the Zalman clip-on is recommended with a nice pair of headphones. But for my personal tastes, this was a little too tacky.
Desk mics, clip ons, modmics, all the aftermarket microphone parts left me less than satisfied due to sheer tackiness (OCD). Essentially I was looking for some type of setup that had: Wireless/removable cable so the cord couldn't break and render the headset useless, didn't look too ugly or heavy if I was just chatting for long periods of time, high quality built in microphone, high sound quality.

So having my opinion heavily influence your decision (I ended up with Astros, with a completely separate cheap wireless headset from Logitech for when I am solely chatting and not chatting/gaming simultaneously..this way I don't have to have a huge headset on my head at all times):

Built in microphone on a headset options:
ASTRO A40 2013 version.
+Good sound quality
+Cable removed 100% from headset
+Mixamp Amplifer
+Feature heavy
-Kind of large
-Looks a little stupid

Sennheiser PC360
+Great Mic quality
+Sound is pretty solid
-Volume control integrated into the earcup is a little tacky
-Cord is not removable


Separate Microphone options:
Zalman Clip on
+Can use any headphones
+Pretty good recording quality
-Pretty tacky/ugly setup
-Not really noise canceling

ModMic
+Boom Mic
+Good recording quality
-Pretty tacky
-Expensive for such a cheap quality item

Blue Snowball
+Fantastic recording quality
-Takes up a lot of desk space
-Weird when gaming/ stigma lacking a microphone on your headset
-:Large
-More geared toward podcasting etc

Blue Tiki
+Small
-Ugly design
-Recording quality can be sub-par when noise canceling
-Inconsistent recording


Dedicated headphones (If you choose to get one of the above mics, options are basically unlimited)
Beyerdynamic Custom One
+Really good looking
+Removable cable
+Pretty solid audio quality
+Very customizable
-Supports in-line microphone for added headset, but not included
-In-line microphones are normally terrible

ATH-M50
+Great audio quality
+Look pretty good/lightweight
-Folding is a little weird
-No removable cable
-No microphone

AKG K272
+Great audio quality
+Removable cable
-Looks are a little weird
-No Mic


Chat/Skype only headset (I had to buy two headsets to be completely happy)
Logitech H600
+No frills, Just works
+For use for solely voice chatting
+Mic quality is solid
+You still look like part of society when using these
-Audio quality sucks compared to everything else mentioned
Edited by invena - 10/23/12 at 7:24am
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post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
Invena, I appreciate the large amount of information you provided me. Seeing as how I've got OCD too your opinion is highly valued to me. However, I'd like your opinion regarding each of those headsets' and headphones' ability to reduce sounds coming from the surrounding environment. Whether or not the equipment can get rid of those sounds is a deal breaker to me.

Also, if you've actually personally used the Blue Snowball I'd like to hear if you think the physical dimensions of it are worth looking past just to get the sound quality.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AudioGamer View Post

May be wrong on this, but anything you can get at that price-range would be held back by the onboard sound. Might want to look into getting a DAC.

Pardon my lack of knowledge but a DAC is a Digital-To-Analog converter, right? If so, why should I get a DAC instead of a dedicated PCI-E sound card?
post #5 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by ColtoM View Post

Invena, I appreciate the large amount of information you provided me. Seeing as how I've got OCD too your opinion is highly valued to me. However, I'd like your opinion regarding each of those headsets' and headphones' ability to reduce sounds coming from the surrounding environment. Whether or not the equipment can get rid of those sounds is a deal breaker to me.
Also, if you've actually personally used the Blue Snowball I'd like to hear if you think the physical dimensions of it are worth looking past just to get the sound quality.
Pardon my lack of knowledge but a DAC is a Digital-To-Analog converter, right? If so, why should I get a DAC instead of a dedicated PCI-E sound card?

I would go with the ASUS Xonar essence ST or STX for your dac. They go for about $160-$200 but It is easily the best DAC for music for the money and it's also excellent for gaming. If you don't want to spend that much, the Objective DAC is well price at about $100 but you don't get dolby heaphone for gaming and imo doesn't sound as good as the ST/STX.

As for headphones, I would look into Ultrasone. Get a pair and a dac that fits your budget.
post #6 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by ColtoM View Post

Invena, I appreciate the large amount of information you provided me. Seeing as how I've got OCD too your opinion is highly valued to me. However, I'd like your opinion regarding each of those headsets' and headphones' ability to reduce sounds coming from the surrounding environment. Whether or not the equipment can get rid of those sounds is a deal breaker to me.

Also, if you've actually personally used the Blue Snowball I'd like to hear if you think the physical dimensions of it are worth looking past just to get the sound quality.


As far as ambient noise filtering goes, nothing is worth mentioning specifically. Essentially, if they are closed-ear they are made to be isolating, there isn't much design features in a headset aside from that, so I would say all the closed-ear designed are comparable.

The blue snowball is a pretty solid microphone, it has three recording setups for different environments, however it really seems geared toward podcasting and recording solely voice. You mentioned your computer is loud, I would presume it would pick up the noise from your pc and keyboard if using it while gaming. It doesn't really 'filter' but just picks up the sounds very clearly. IF you are looking at just recording your voice, the physical dimensions are completely acceptable. For it's purpose it is a great item. I just wouldn't recommend it for simultaneous gaming/chatting. The large dimensions I mentioned was relative to the other microphones.

I feel like when gaming, with keyboard noises & surrounding noises should be filtered out on the transmission end. The snowball might not be ideal for this. It is dependent on location etc. Most people would disagree with me, but the way I tend to look at things:

Headset: Gaming/chatting/ simultaneously
Headphones: Dedicated listening
Speakers: Dedicated listening with no obtrusion
Desk Mic: Dedicated chatting

Start mixing them up and you begin to introduce problems:
room sounds getting picked up
sounds from your audio output repeated into recorder
not picking up your voice
heavy reliance on positioning
Edited by invena - 10/23/12 at 7:33am
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post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by UsedPaperclip View Post

I would go with the ASUS Xonar essence ST or STX for your dac. They go for about $160-$200 but It is easily the best DAC for music for the money and it's also excellent for gaming. If you don't want to spend that much, the Objective DAC is well price at about $100 but you don't get dolby heaphone for gaming and imo doesn't sound as good as the ST/STX.
As for headphones, I would look into Ultrasone. Get a pair and a dac that fits your budget.

So a DAC isn't a substitute for a sound card? It seems like I'm going to have to get both a sound card and a DAC. Does a DAC really make a significant difference? Also, I have no clue what DACs are worth the money and the like. I'm really going to need specific recommendations with included reasons for each recommendation.

Only mentioning a brand is too wide of a suggestion for my taste. Would you please further elaborate on what Ultrasone headphone(s) you think I should get?
post #8 of 11
Just stay away from Medusa.
post #9 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by ColtoM View Post

So a DAC isn't a substitute for a sound card? It seems like I'm going to have to get both a sound card and a DAC. Does a DAC really make a significant difference? Also, I have no clue what DACs are worth the money and the like. I'm really going to need specific recommendations with included reasons for each recommendation.
Only mentioning a brand is too wide of a suggestion for my taste. Would you please further elaborate on what Ultrasone headphone(s) you think I should get?
A sound card is DAC. But a USB DAC will only provide stereo sound. The ASUS Xonar Essence ST or STX is the best DAC you can get for the money and it also gives you gaming features for your headphone and a built in amp that is adequate to get the job done.

All Ultrasones have a similar signature to them but they all different in their own way, similar to how Beyerdynamic has their line.

I recommend the Ultrasone Pro 900s if you can find a pair to squeeze in with a Xonar essence ST but if you have to lower your budget, I would get the HFI-2400s. The 2400s will have a better sound stage (ultrasones already have a great sound stage for closed cans) but less bass. They still have very nice bass though. A sort of compromise for the price between the two would be the Pro 750s.

I would get the Pro 900s over the other two if you can afford it with a DAC.

Open Cans - 2400s for a decent price on djdeals:
http://www.djdeals.com/ultrasoneHFI2400.htm

Closed Cans- Pro 750
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?is=REG&Q=&A=details&O=productlist&sku=568390
Edited by UsedPaperclip - 10/23/12 at 9:04am
post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by UsedPaperclip View Post

A sound card is DAC. But a USB DAC will only provide stereo sound. The ASUS Xonar Essence ST or STX is the best DAC you can get for the money and it also gives you gaming features for your headphone and a built in amp that is adequate to get the job done.
All Ultrasones have a similar signature to them but they all different in their own way, similar to how Beyerdynamic has their line.
I recommend the Ultrasone Pro 900s if you can find a pair to squeeze in with a Xonar essence ST but if you have to lower your budget, I would get the HFI-2400s. The 2400s will have a better sound stage (ultrasones already have a great sound stage for closed cans) but less bass. They still have very nice bass though. A sort of compromise for the price between the two would be the Pro 750s.
I would get the Pro 900s over the other two if you can afford it with a DAC.
Open Cans - 2400s for a decent price on djdeals:
http://www.djdeals.com/ultrasoneHFI2400.htm
Closed Cans- Pro 750
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?is=REG&Q=&A=details&O=productlist&sku=568390

A DAC being the same thing as a sound card made me calm down a bit. Then I have no need to look into a completely, to me, new sort of equipment. That makes purchasing the setup much easier!

I've been reading quite a few of the reviews customers have written about the Pro 750. It seems like they're very happy about their purchase and that they think it was worth the pricetag. This makes me think perhaps I should expand my budget and grab an STX to go with it.

If I'm going for a pair of headphones I'm going to need a good microphone to accompany it. I was looking into the Blue Snowball but the problem is that it's placed on the desk. Would it be a good idea to place a microphone stand behind my center monitor and letting a Blue Yeti hang upside-down slightly in front and above my head? You're going to have to excuse my incredible artistry but something like the following:



My main concern about this hypothetical setup is the microphone's potential to pick up the keyboard's sounds. When I'm using this microphone I'll also be using a mechanical keyboard with Cherry MX Red.

Any suggestions, peeps?
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